'Gritty' Coastal Carolina transfer guard DeVante' Jones commits to Michigan

James Hawkins
The Detroit News

The Wolverines found their starting point guard in the transfer portal last season. One year later, they might’ve done it again.

Coastal Carolina’s DeVante’ Jones announced on Saturday his commitment to Michigan, where he will help fill the lead guard role following the departure of Mike Smith.

Coastal Carolina guard DeVante' Jones

Jones, a New Orleans native, also was considering Memphis, Texas and Texas Tech for his next stop, but he said his relationship with coach Juwan Howard and Michigan’s family environment titled the scales in the Wolverines’ favor.

“As soon as I put my name in the portal, he (Howard) reached out to me and my family,” Jones said on The Field of 68. “He's been a genuine guy, just picking his brain. He studied film of my game and he knows that I can come in right away and help his program.

“The fan base in Ann Arbor is crazy. They've been showing love throughout the whole process. I also talked to some of the players. I was talking to Mike Smith a little bit and him giving me some great (advice) on what to expect coming into this great program.” 

The 6-foot-1, 200-pound guard has been one of the top players in the Sun Belt Conference the past three seasons and is ranked No. 22 on ESPN’s list of transfers. He earned Sun Belt Player of the Year honors last season as a redshirt junior after averaging 19.3 points, 7.2 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 2.8 steals and shooting a career-best 36.8% from 3-point range for an 18-8 team.

Jones, a graduate transfer who has two seasons of eligibility remaining, averaged 17 points, 5.7 rebounds, 4.2 assists and two steals as a three-year starter at Coastal Carolina. He also shot 48.1% from the field, 33.4% from beyond the arc and 85.5% from the free-throw line for his career, while being named second-team all-conference as a sophomore and Freshman of the Year in 2018-19.

"A lot of people feel like I’m a score-first (guard), but I feel like I'm a pass-first point guard. Just at Coastal, I was put in situations where I had to score for our team to win,” Jones said. “I'm gritty. I love playing both sides of the ball. I just have that effort about myself. I like rebounding.

“I do whatever I've got to do for our team to win, so I know I'll do that at Michigan. I know Juwan Howard believes in me, so I'm going to do whatever I've got to do. I can score at all three levels. I can defend one through three (positions). I'm just one of those guards that's going to do whatever it takes to win.”

Jones is the second grad transfer point guard Howard has brought in since taking over, and he will give the Wolverines a seasoned option for a starting spot that's up for grabs. He joins a backcourt mix that will feature fifth-year senior Eli Brooks, sophomore-to-be Zeb Jackson and incoming freshmen Frankie Collins and Kobe Bufkin.

With the addition of Jones, the Wolverines are one over the allotted scholarship limit of 13 for the 2021-22 season and will need to free up a roster spot to make room. However, they are still waiting on NBA Draft decisions from Franz Wagner, a projected lottery pick, and Hunter Dickinson, who was one of the top freshmen in the nation.

Jones also put his name in the NBA Draft when he entered the transfer portal last month and is still planning to go through the pre-draft process.

“After talking to Juwan Howard, me and him both decided that me testing the waters would be the best thing for me,” Jones said. “I'm definitely going to stay in the draft and go through that process and enjoy that process. Then we're going to go from there.”


Twitter: @jamesbhawkins